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Commanders sale huge for NFL, Bucs-Rams reaction and more


On Thursday, news came that Dan Snyder is open to offers for the Washington Commanders. Here’s what that means for the league.

Dan Snyder is reportedly open to selling the Washington Commanders.

The other 31 NFL ownership groups are all hoping he does so.

Snyder’s exit would mean two things. First, the NFL is rid of its biggest eyesore. Second, every club’s value will skyrocket, because Washington’s sale price will be astronomical.

Let’s begin by talking about the more important angle from the league’s standpoint. The money.

“The franchise will be sold for more than any other professional team in North American history,” one former general manager told FanSided. “The value of owning this team is really, as they say, ‘priceless.’”

Currently, Snyder is under federal investigation for alleged financial improprieties, a story which came down almost simultaneously alongside Forbes’ report of a possible team sale.

Still, some in the league have questions if Snyder will actually sell the team.

“First reaction is Lucy holding the football for Charlie Brown,” a prominent agent texted to FanSided. “Yeah right, he’s going to sell. If he does, it’ll be the biggest culture upgrade since the Vikings replaced the dreadful Mike Zimmer.”

However, let’s explore a potential sale.

This spring, the Denver Broncos were sold to Rob Walton and his Wal-Mart money for $4.65 billion. Even by NFL standards, the price was stunning. Before Denver, the last team to change hands was the Carolina Panthers, for the cost of $2.275 billion.

While the Broncos are an attractive purchase, they’re Sam’s Club compared to Washington.

The Commanders play in the ninth-largest American television market, while Denver checks in 16th. Furthermore, the franchise could soon be getting a new stadium in northern Virginia, a process largely held up by Snyder still being the team owner.

With a new facility, a massive market and a monster fanbase, the Commanders are one of the preeminent teams in the NFL, even it hasn’t felt that way for 30 years.

All factors considered, the Commanders could easily clear $5 billion. When Snyder bought the team in 1999, the then-Redskins cost him $800 million, although the purchase also came with FedEx Field. Snyder, who retains 65 percent of the franchise today, could walk away with somewhere around $4 billion, giving him an approximate profit of 400 percent.

If the Commanders sell, every other NFL team is worth considerably more than they are now. Much like how positional markets are reset, franchise values see a similar shift with each sale. With due respect to Carolina and especially Denver, neither are Washington.

Then there’s the other angle to this. Snyder the individual being purged from the league.

When Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay spoke out publicly against Snyder in October, it represented an important moment. For years, owners stayed quiet publicly on Snyder, even if many had private complaints and frustrations. By being out front, Irsay made it easier for other owners to break from their longstanding silence.

Although there are certainly other owners who have problems — Jerry Jones and Robert Kraft are two of the highest-profile men in the country and each have had unseemly headlines written about them in recent years — Snyder’s seemingly endless list of alleged incidents has become an annual blight on the league.

The off-field ugliness, combined with one of the bedrock NFL franchises being run into the ground throughout Snyder’s stewardship, has caused significant erosion in a key market. With Snyder selling, it’s likely fans will come back in droves.

Perhaps surprisingly, some feel Snyder, for all his many faults, leaves behind more than just a hideous legacy.

“New beginnings are always exciting,” said a former NFC head coach of a potential Washington sale. “Sometimes something new gives fans and even players new hope for a better future. Daniel was always competitive about having a good team — I admired that.”

Bluntly, the NFL will be quietly rooting hard for Snyder to sell.

For the league, it’s the solution to a constant problem.

For the other 31 owners, it’s more eventual money in their pockets.

Power rankings

Top 10 surprises through nine weeks of the ’22 season

1. Struggles of the Bucs, Rams and Packers in NFC
2. Geno Smith’s dream season for the Seahawks
3. Broncos go bust with Russell Wilson, Nathaniel Hackett
4. Falcons atop NFC South at midway point
5. Jets, Giants making New York football fun again
6. Matt Ryan benched for Sam Ehlinger before November
7. Bengals’ OL as bad as last year’s despite overhaul
8. Eagles the last remaining undefeated team
9. Raiders out of playoff picture despite upgrades
10. Vikings running away with NFC North title

Quotable

“It’s tough to win in this league when you’re playing a good team and your quarterback plays like shit.”

– Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen on his showing in a 20-17 loss to the New York Jets

Allen isn’t wrong. For the second consecutive week, the MVP candidate threw two interceptions, giving him eight on the year. Only Matt Ryan — who was benched — has thrown more. The Jets deserve credit for harassing Allen, sacking him five times with eight QB hits, but Allen’s two picks were hideous throws.

With the Vikings on deck, Allen needs to be much sharper.

Podcast

Random stat

Few rivalries are better than the San Francisco 49ers and Dallas Cowboys.

The Niners and Cowboys have faced each other in eight playoff games, the most of any two teams in the Super Bowl era.

Info learned this week

1. Rams on brink after late collapse to Tom Brady, Bucs

Not all records provide the same situation for the team owning them.

At 4-5, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are disappointing, but the No. 4 seed in the NFC playoffs as things sit because they inhabit the NFC South. Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Rams are 3-5, and on life support.

Los Angeles led throughout much of the night in Tampa, including being up 13-9 after a goal-line stand in the fourth quarter. Needing one first down to ice the game, the Rams ran three times and punted. Still, the Buccaneers, who gained 273 total yards with 44 seconds remaining, traveled 60 yards in 35 ticks to win 16-13.

Yes, Tom Brady is magnificent, even at 45 years old. Yes, the Rams’ defense can point at the offense and yell about their all-day ineptitude. Still, Los Angeles only had to make a few in-bounds tackles, not allow Tampa Bay to get deep and walk away at 4-4. Instead, the Rams fell apart.

For Los Angeles, the road ahead is daunting. The Rams are 2.5 games behind the division-leading Seattle Seahawks and a game back of the Niners, who already swept their season series with Los Angeles. Additionally, the Rams have a rough remaining schedule including tilts with the Kansas City Chiefs, Los Angeles Chargers, Seahawks (2x), along with road dates facing the Green Bay Packers and New Orleans Saints.

The Rams need momentum and some answers offensively. On Sunday, they found neither.

2. Should the ’72 Dolphins be nervous about the Eagles?

Another game, another win for the Philadelphia Eagles.

After beating the Houston Texans on Thursday night, the Eagles ran their record to 8-0. Philadelphia is the only team keeping the 1972 Miami Dolphins from popping their annual champagne, secure in their knowledge they’ll remain the only NFL to ever go unbeaten and untied in a single season.

Looking at Philadelphia’s schedule, it could make a legitimate run at 17-0. Over at FiveThirtyEight, the Eagles are projected to be favored by at least five points in every remaining contest, save for Week 17 at Dallas. In that NFC East clash, the Cowboys are seen as a slight two-point favorite.

All that said, the overwhelming odds are Philadelphia will lose once or twice before the playoffs. But looking at the pocket, the Eagles could make the ’72 Dolphins sweat.

3. Packers aren’t climbing out of hole after loss to Lions

Stop expecting the Green Bay Packers to recover. It’s over. They aren’t coming back.

The Packers lost 15-9 to the horrific Detroit Lions on Sunday, with Aaron Rodgers throwing three interceptions including two inside the Lions’ 5-yard line. At 3-6, Green Bay is 4.5 games behind the Minnesota Vikings in the NFC North, who won their sixth straight with a victory over the Commanders.

Rodgers can scream and yell, and critics can point at him and yell back, but the truth is in the middle. The offense was neutered by the front office when it traded Davante Adams and replaced him with rookies Christian Watson and Romeo Doubs, and veteran Sammy Watkins. That trio has combined for 51 receptions, 561 yards and three touchdowns. Adams has 48 catches for 658 yards and seven scores.

That said, Rodgers isn’t helping. He’s publicly questioned almost everyone but himself, and on the field has thrown 14 touchdowns against seven interceptions. Over Green Bay’s current five-game losing streak, he’s yet to average more than 6.8 yards per attempt in any of the defeats.

At 3-6, the Packers are finished. Start the mock drafts in Titletown.

4. Chiefs escape Titans based on Patrick Mahomes, incredible defensive surge

The Tennessee Titans had 27 offensive plays in the second half and overtime. They gained seven yards.

Kansas City’s defense was magnificent as the game wore on, allowing the Chiefs to find themselves. And that took time, as Patrick Mahomes’ group went scoreless on seven consecutive drives after scoring nine points on its first two jaunts.

Usually, the story with Kansas City is Mahomes’ arm, Travis Kelce’s yardage and a few contributors chipping in. In Sunday night’s 20-17 overtime win, there was certainly some of that with Mahomes throwing for 446 yards (6.6 YPA) while Kelce notched 106 receiving yards, JuJu Smith-Schuster totaling 88 and Mecole Hardman amassing 79 and a touchdown.

Yet it was the defense which won Kansas City the game, turning the Titans’ run-heavy offense back at every turn. The Chiefs were able to shut down Derrick Henry in the second half and OT, holding him to 23 yards on eight carries.

Typically, defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo sees his group improve as the year progresses. Does this become a turning point for Kansas City’s defense, or was simply a game where Tennessee quarterback Malik Willis found himself overwhelmed, completing only 5-of-16 passes for 80 yards?

We’ll find out, but if nothing else, the Chiefs’ lesser-hyped unit stole a victory.

5. Ravens are taking on serious water before MNF tilt with Saints

The Baltimore Ravens were ravaged by injuries last season. The bug is biting once again.

Last week, head coach John Harbaugh announced receiver Rashod Bateman will miss the remainder of the season with a foot injury. On Monday, the Ravens will likely be without tight end Mark Andrews, who has been battling knee and shoulder ailments for weeks.

For years, Baltimore has been limited in the passing game due to a lack of weaponry. This season, the hope was Bateman would emerge to compliment the All-Pro Andrews. Bateman was doing just that, averaging 19.0 yards per reception. Now, Baltimore is suddenly relying heavily on Devin Duvernay and Demarcus Robinson, along with newcomer DeSean Jackson.

Against the New Orleans Saints at the raucous Superdome, the Ravens and their depth will be tested severely.

Two cents

Coaching has become a four-letter word for the Las Vegas Raiders.

For the third time this season, the Raiders have blown a lead of at least 17 points, this time doing so in a 27-20 loss to the previously 2-6 Jacksonville Jaguars. Moving to 2-6 itself, Las Vegas is finished. The Raiders are hopelessly out of the AFC playoff picture, sitting in last place of the AFC West.

Now, it’s time to talk about Josh McDaniels.

McDaniels was brought to Las Vegas with past full of one with red flags. While McDaniels had a wonderful relationship with Tom Brady that bore much fruit, the same could be said about Adam Gase with Peyton Manning.

Outside of New England, McDaniels was either a head coach or offensive coordinator for three seasons with the Denver Broncos and St. Louis Rams from 2009-11. In those 44 games, McDaniel’s teams were 13-31, scoring an average of 17.6 points per game.

A decade later, McDaniels’ offense in Las Vegas — in a friendly offensive climate — is averaging 22.9 points per game. Situationally, the Raiders are a mess. Entering Sunday, Las Vegas ranked 19th on third down (39.8 percent). Against Jacksonville, the Raiders were 3-of-12.

After leading 17-0, Las Vegas ran the ball 13 times on 30 plays. As concerning, the defense fell apart, allowing 273 yards for 6.5 yards per play in the same span (excluding one spike and a kneel-down). For reference, entering Week 8, only the Buffalo Bills average a better output at 6.6.

McDaniels was supposed to take a talented offense to the next level. Instead, the Raiders have sunk back to a familiar level over the last 20 years. Last place.

Inside the league

If no miracle comes for the Indianapolis Colts this season, it’s time to make serious changes.

For years, head coach Frank Reich and general manager Chris Ballard have been ranked among the best at their respective jobs. It’s becoming harder to understand why.

Ballard and Reich showed up in Indianapolis before the 2017 and ’18 seasons respectively. The Colts have won a single playoff game and reached the postseason twice over that span. While the duo had the tremendous misfortune of Andrew Luck’s stunning preseason retirement in Aug. ’19, they’ve had ample years to recover. Nothing has happened.

Ballard nailed the first two picks of the ’18 Draft, landing guard Quinton Nelson and linebacker Shaq Leonard. Since then, Indy’s only draft pick to reach the Pro Bowl is running back Jonathan Taylor.

The Colts have found solid players such as receiver Michael Pittman, linebacker Bobby Okereke and defensive tackle Grover Stewart, but it hasn’t been near enough to contend. Currently, the Colts have the highest-paid offensive line in football, and it might be the league’s worst.

As for Reich, the Colts have gotten nothing out of myriad quarterbacks. Last year, Reich campaigned internally for Carson Wentz. He lasted one year. This offseason, Matt Ryan was the savior until he was benched after seven games.

If Indianapolis misses the playoffs again, Reich and Ballard will finally be on the hot seat after years of mediocrity.

As they should be.

BetSided‘s best bet

Dallas Cowboys -4.5 at Green Bay Packers

If the first eight weeks of the season didn’t convince you, hopefully a Week 9 loss to the Detroit Lions finally flipped the switch in all of our brains that Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers simply aren’t good.

Rodgers was picked off three times in Week 9, and the Green Bay offense couldn’t score against the Lions’ league worst defense. Now they’re going to keep things close with Dallas’ vaunted pass rush?

Not a chance.

The Cowboys are coming off a bye week, giving Dak Prescott’s thumb yet another week to heal, and they should be able to run the ball all over Green Bay’s soft run defense (allowing 4.9 yards per carry this season).

Dallas should roll against this underwhelming Green Bay team.

– Peter Dewey

History lesson

Few men had more fascinating careers than the late, great Ray Guy.

Guy passed away at 73 years old last week, leaving behind a lasting legacy. The easiest way to sum up his 14-year career with the Raiders?

Guy was a punted selected in the first round who outplayed his draft slot.

A seven-time Pro Bowler and three-time First-Team All-Pro, Guy is indisputably the greatest punter to ever live. Yet perhaps his greatest strength was his athleticism, something showcased in Super Bowl XVIII when he pulled down a high snap with one hand to avoid an early turnover against Washington. Avoiding a major mistake, the Raiders went on to win their third title with Guy by a 38-9 count.

Guy remains the only pure punter to be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, with nobody else in that space coming close to enshrinement.

Parting shot

The Chicago Bears are 3-6, and yet they should be excited about their season.

Why? Justin Fields.

After a rough rookie season and a turbulent start to 2022, Fields is shining. In a 35-32 loss to the Miami Dolphins on Sunday afternoon, Fields threw for three touchdowns and ran for 178 yards with a dazzling 61-yard score.

The Bears are extremely limited with their line and weapons, but Fields has shown his potential in recent weeks.

Over the past five games, Fields is averaging only 170 passing yards (6.3 YPA) while picking up another 91 rushing yards per game. Additionally, Fields has accounted for 11 touchdowns with only two interceptions.

Are those Ruthian numbers? No. But they’re a stark improvement under first-year offensive coordinator Luke Getsy. Plenty of reason to watch Fields closely over the next eight games to determine his stage of development entering the offseason.





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